Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed a new chip to power wearable devices that mimics the human brain and could give us more intelligent augmented reality for longer.
The new AR processor powers what KAIST calls K-Glass, a rather rough-looking prototype wearable with some interesting features. While Google Glass relies mostly on voice commands and other user input, K-Glass can use its camera to see things in the world and present relevant information that floats in front of your vision.
The given example of K-Glass’ AR features is for restaurants. Just look at a restaurant while wearing K-Glass, and it will see the name of the location and overlay a menu onto your vision. That way you can decide if you want to go inside without searching for a menu on your phone, or looking at the display menu if one’s available. K-Glass can even show the number of tables available for the restaurant, if that information is available.
While the functions of K-Glass are neat enough, how it works is really impressive. The team at KAIST says it modeled the AR processor inside K-Glass after the human brain and how it processes images sent from the eyes. The processor uses an “artificial neural network” that allows for a lot of parallel processing that increases speed and decreases battery consumption. The team claims K-Glass can last 76 percent longer than other wearable currently on the market. That’s not much given that Google Glass only lasts two hours at the moment, but any increase is better than nothing.
K-Glass is just a prototype at the moment, but KAIST will continue working on it and the AR chip inside. Hopefully it will eventually reach a point where we won’t be embarrassed to wear the device on our heads.
There’s an argument to be made that Glass, with it’s small rectangle of information in the upper right corner of your vision is better for those who don’t want to be ruled by technology, but K-Glass looks cool nonetheless. Sure, persistent AR is a bit more intrusive, and may raise some safety concerns, but we want to see how fas this technology can advance.
After all, isn’t this exactly the sort of thing we all dreamed of before wearables became all about 1.5-inch screens on out wrist?